Tablas Creek founder dies

Robert Haas, the co-founder of Tablas Creek in Paso Robles and champion of both Rhône wines and Rhône varieties in the US, has died aged 90.

The news was announced by the winery late yesterday evening, that Haas had died peacefully at home.

Haas was an important figure in the American wine industry, starting out as a buyer for his family’s retailer, M. Lehman, in the 1950s.

Focused on France he built up a fearsome reputation as a taster but also for forming friendships with some of the leading producers in Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire, Alsace and Rhône Valley.

It was only after setting up his own importer, Vineyard Brands, in the 1960s that he met the Perrin family and became their exclusive importer in the US.

In the mid 1980s, Haas and Perrin began looking for a place to start a winery of their own, convinced themselves but also by the growing ‘Rhône Ranger’ movement that Rhône varieties were an excellent fit for the US – and California in particular.

In 1989 they purchased a 120-ace parcel in what is now the Adelaida District of Paso Robles and took cuttings of several clones each of Mourvédre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Counoise, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc from the Perrin estate which were eventually planted in 1994 (after three years quarantine).

Haas also established a nursery at Tablas Creek which, since 1994, has provided over 5 million cuttings to wineries in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas and Virginia.

He founded the symposium ‘Focus on Chardonnay’ in 1984 to promote dialogue between producers in Burgundy and California and he also created the first ever French-American Rhône Symposium, which was held at the Meadowood Club in the Napa Valley in 1990. In 2014 Haas was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rhône Rangers organisation.

His son Jason has run the winery since 2006.

One Response to “Tablas Creek founder dies”

  1. Bob Lindquist says:

    We’ve lost a legendary figure in this business. Bob was a true gentleman, connoisseur, visionary and tireless promoter of fine wine. He was also a colleague and a friend, he’ll be missed!

    – Bob Lindquist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Events & Admin Assistant

The Drinks Business
London SE1, UK

Brand Manager - Key Wine Partners

MMI Dubai
Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Business Development Manager

Bashall Spirits
Lancashire, UK

Territory Manager - London​

Cadrona Distillery
London, UK

Business Development Manager

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Customer Marketing Manager

London NW1, UK

Export Assistant Co-ordinator - Maternity Cover

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Customer Services Administrator - On Trade

Speciality Drinks
Whitby Avenue, London NW10 7SF, UK

Fruit Focus 2019

East Malling,United Kingdom
17th Jul 2019

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

San Francisco,USA
23rd Jul 2019

The Wine Show Chelsea 2019

London,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2019
Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more